Month: April 2014

Recommendation: Blimey Cow’s YouTube channel

These guys take sarcasm and make it an art form.

Image

Josh, Kelli and Jordan Taylor started out making videos years ago to entertain their fellow homeschoolers. Bazillions of subscribers later, they’ve got a good thing going.

The trio stay true to their Bible belt roots, and they’re especially funny if you’re a church kid from the 90s. Whether it’s Adventures in Odyssey, youth group or church camp, they’ve been through it all too.

Tune into their channel to learn ‘How to Tell If a Guy Likes You‘, ‘How Not to Be a Terrible Person When You Go Out To Eat‘ or ‘Four Myths that Students Believe about College‘.

Check them out!

Advertisements

I Don’t Get the Point of This, God

I don’t understand the direction my life is going.

Photo sourced from EveryStockPhoto.com, by KellyB. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

Photo sourced from EveryStockPhoto.com, by KellyB. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

I don’t want to sound like a whiner, but…I’m about to.

My job is not a career, my writing will take forever to become a career, I can’t see God working through me and things just aren’t turning out the way I expected. It drives me crazy that I can’t see which way I’m going.

I’m the kind of person who likes to set goals, then work hard to achieve them. I hate drifting, I hate aimlessness and I hate waiting without knowing what’s going on. I guess ticking goals off my list makes me feel in control and successful.

So this time of my life—while I love many parts of it—is sending me bonkers.

But as I studied the Book of Luke yesterday I got a bucket of cold water thrown over my soul.

As I read through Chapters 7-9 I took note of patterns in what Jesus said and did. And I found one theme coming  out stronger than all the others: faith.

©CreationSwap/Tonya Christner

©CreationSwap/Tonya Christner

Jesus praised the faith of the centurion, the sinful woman and the bleeding woman. All three trusted Him when they were in desperate circumstances. Jesus also taught people to have faith through the Parable of the Sower, and he told Jairus to have faith when he raised his daughter from the dead. And when the disciples freaked out at a deadly storm, he questioned why they didn’t have more faith!

Let me tell you, if I was in that boat I would have been screaming my lungs out along with Peter.

As I read, I remembered how the nation of Israel had to wander the desert for 40 years because they didn’t have enough faith to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 13-14). And how Jesus later showed Peter that he could even walk on water if he had faith (Matt 14:22-33). I thought to myself, “Wow, where is my faith?”

If Peter can walk on water, I can choose to trust that God knows what He’s doing with my life, even if I don’t. I don’t have to understand. I don’t have to be able to see where my life is going. I just need to have faith.

I have to admit, up until yesterday I didn’t grasp how much of a big deal this was to God. Faith isn’t just a nice little Sunday School lesson we learn alongside, ‘Play nice’, and ‘Don’t hog all the cake’.

Going by the amount of times Jesus mentioned faith, the pivotal role faith played in Israel’s history and 1 Corinthians 13:13, I’d say that from God’s perspective, faith is the second most important thing in our lives.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

Love is obviously number one; Jesus was pretty big on the whole, “Love God with all your heart” thing. But I’m pretty confident that faith is number two. (Okay, so maybe it ties for second place along with obedience, but you get the idea.)

This is a big deal. And I have been totally content to do nothing about it. I don’t want to miss out on a Promised Land and wander the desert because I refused to believe.

So I prayed, asking for God’s help. And as I prayed I realized how silly I had been. God was powerful enough to design DNA; I’m pretty sure He can handle my life.

So thank-you for your help God, and please remind me of this when I start to worry in the future.

What about you? What trigger points are in your life that cause you to lose faith? How do you combat them?

 

Enjoy this post? Hit the ‘follow by email’ button at the bottom of the page and you’ll get them all delivered straight to your inbox!

Or if social media’s more your style, follow me on Facebook. 🙂

 

 

 

Jane Knew She Was Going To Die

One day a girl called Jane walked down the street. She spotted a friend across the road and darted out across the street—straight into the path of a truck.

Just as she saw the truck and knew she was going to die,  someone knocked her out of the way from behind.

Jane smashed into the bitumen, and a car came screeching to a halt six inches from her head. But she was alive.

Jane rolled over with a groan, then jerked upright. Who had saved her? She looked across the scene in front of her and realized she’d never get to thank the stranger. He’d knocked her out of the way, and taken the blow of the truck himself.

 

OK, so this is obviously made up. But what if this happened to you? Would you be absolutely blown away by the stranger’s sacrifice?

It’s Good Friday today, and I don’t think my brain can really comprehend how amazing it is, what Jesus did for me. We weren’t just strangers when He died for us; we were His enemies. And that was our doing, not his. Would you die for your enemy?

But Jesus did, and that just leaves me with two thoughts to chew on as I spend this Easter with family and mates

1. God is freaking awesome.

2. I am loved. Really loved.

God’s Not Disappointed With Me

Photo by Ramzi Hashisho, sourced from freeimages.com.

Photo by Ramzi Hashisho, sourced from freeimages.com.

Do you know, I felt a little weird writing that title?

That’s how ingrained the thought process is in my head. And up until last week, I didn’t realize it.

Lately I’ve posted about what God’s teaching me in the areas of stressjoy and my theory that just because you feel something, doesn’t mean you have to believe it.

A big part of combating stress and seizing joy has been sniffing out the lies in my head and replacing them with God’s truth.

I already knew there were triggers that made me feel blah. The big ones were:

  • A feeling that God’s given me an amazing life and opportunities and I’m not giving enough back.
  • Stress that I’m making the wrong decision (not wrong as in sinful, just wrong as in ‘this other one would work better’).
  • Worry about money/career/future/house, etc.

The first two things on this list especially contributed to a general feeling that God wasn’t happy with my efforts, but I didn’t know how to fix it. A feeling that He was disappointed.

Since I decided to stop stressing and instead actively pursue joy and peace, I’ve been on the lookout for this yucky feeling. It’s been an eye-opener—not even I realized how often it was getting me down. It was all the time! But I’ve found some important truths to fight it:

  • Yes, God has given me an amazing life. But I have been on the lookout for opportunities to join Him in His work. I’ve been obedient, I’ve been faithful. I’ve taken action when the chance arose. And I’m asking for His help to further improve. The only reason I think I’m not giving enough back, is because I can’t see churches full of people I’ve converted.  But last week I posted about how God doesn’t measure success by numbers. What matters is faithfulness, so if I’m faithful, I’m all good.

You worry every time you must take a turn. You often freeze up and cannot make a decision.

  Yep, that’s totally me. You know what Henry Blackaby was describing here? People who don’t trust God to lead them one step at a time.

  It’s a common pattern throughout the Bible—God often called people to action, but only gave them one piece of the puzzle at a time. If I trust        Him and make sure I’m obedient one day at a time, then each day I know I’m right where He wants me.

  • Worry about the future is basically a lack of trust in God—something I’m very aware of, have posted about before and am dealing with.

And just like that, the foreboding feeling that I’m a disappointment to God is disappearing. It’s being replaced with a desire for more of God, and the knowledge that if I’m listening and obedient one day at a time, I’m okay.

Actually, I’m more than okay. 🙂

Can you relate to my story? How has God addressed your fears or worries? Comment below!

 

 

Enjoy this post? Click the ‘follow by email’ button at the bottom of the page and you’ll get future posts delivered straight to your inbox!

Are You Ready?

I’m guest blogging on Tamera Kraft’s blog Word Sharpeners today.Tamera Kraft

Here’s a sneak peek!

Are you ready to be published?

All of us aspiring authors leap to our feet and scream ‘YES!’ We are so ready.

We’ve been writing till our fingers bleed, improving our craft, learning how to market and stalking agents. We’ve paid our dues.

We can’t wait to get to the next level; leave behind all the insecurities of being unpublished, the crazy self-imposed deadlines and the stress of self-doubt. We can’t wait to finally be called ‘an author’.

But a few days ago, something clicked in my brain. Am I really ready to be published?

 

Click here to read the rest of the article.

 

Enjoy this post? Hit the ‘follow’ button at the bottom of the page and you’ll never miss one again!

God, What Do You Call ‘Success’?

If everything in life went as planned and you achieved your idea of ‘success’, where would you be in five years’ time?

Photo sourced from Every Stock Photo by familymwr, used under licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

Photo sourced from Every Stock Photo by familymwr, used under licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

In my Day Dream Land, by 2019 I’ll be 27 and a well-known author of several novels and maybe some Christian living books. My writing career will be financially stable and growing, my readers will write to me and tell me how I’ve changed their walk with God and newbie authors will look to me for advice (which I will benevolently bestow).

Like I said, this is Day Dream Land.

God had me thinking about motivations the other day, and a possibility smacked me in the head. What if God asks me to keep my day job forever and release all my writing as free eBooks under a pen name, eliminating any money and recognition?

Yikes. I’ve never thought of myself as someone motivated by cash or fame, but that scenario sure took the shine off my ‘success’.

I’m not saying I will publish everything I write anonymously and for free. But all options are on the table; I’m following God’s leading here, not my own. Would I be happy if I had to let go of my definition of success for His? What is God’s definition of success?

I found it in the examples of David, Ruth and Joseph in the Bible.

David spent years on the run from King Saul, wondering why God promised to give him a kingdom only to make him a fugitive. Ruth left her family and country for a life of poverty in a foreign land. And Joseph was sold as a slave, unjustly imprisoned and then forgotten about for years. All three endured circumstances that they didn’t expect, and that no one would call ‘successful’. Yet all three remained faithful in the midst of their difficulties. And today they are some of the most highly honored people in the Bible.

If you read the rest of these people’s stories, their lives did come good in the end. But they weren’t honored as Jesus’ ancestors because of their eventual promotions. No, they were honored because they were committed even when life sucked. They were available to God at all times and they were obedient in all circumstances. They loved God above money, status, comfort and even family.

Because of that, Ruth has a whole book of the Bible written about her. David was called ‘a man after God’s own heart’. And Joseph saved his family and the entire country of Egypt from starvation.

So what if I never earn the admiration of readers? If I never make a living from my passion? The greatest names in the Bible achieved astounding success—though it wasn’t always recognized by the world—simply by being faithful.

 

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Mark 8:36 NIV

To read the stories of David, Ruth and Joseph, look up 1 & 2 Samuel, Ruth and Genesis 37-50 in the Bible.

Who else do you know of who didn’t fit the usual definition of ‘success’, but pleased God anyway? Leave a comment!

Enjoy this post? Hit the ‘follow’ button at the bottom of the page. 🙂

 

‘All I Am’ – My Second Novel

It’s been an exciting week everybody!

On Tuesday I entered the first 15 pages and a synopsis of my second novel, a contemporary romance tentatively titled All I Am, into the Oregon Christian Writers’ Cascade Writing Contest. Apparently I’m their first ever international entrant. 🙂 Hopefully I do a good job representing the Aussies!

I also found out this morning that Elaine Stock has listed this blog as one of her ‘April favorites’ on her website, Everyone’s Story. Thank-you Elaine!

Another exciting thing: on Saturday I was surprised when I was invited to speak at my church’s night service in a few months’ time. I have never done anything other than a youth group talk before, so I’d love some prayer to help me out.

I have also been working on revamping the blog, and as part of that I’m regularly adding new recommendations to the tab above. This week’s recommendation is the Bible study Experiencing God. This study explains in simple, Biblical terms how we can experience God by working with Him, listening to Him and being part of a love relationship with Him. I cannot overstate the difference this has made in my life, and the lives of a lot of people I know. Check it out!

Lastly, I had to let you all know about this awesome guy I heard about this week. A character in All I Am is in remission from cancer, so I emailed an author who offered to tell me about her Dad’s experience with cancer. During our conversation she happened to mention that her father, who is in his eighties, still flies his powered parachute—as recently as last week! She said his cancer made him a lot weaker, but he was very strong initially so even in his weakened state he still takes the parachute for a spin!

I was amazed, but she sent photographic proof. Enjoy.

James and his parachute.

James and his parachute.

James in action.

James in action.